Happiness is Shared Joy

For the longest time I wondered, “what is happiness?”.

Everyone wants to live happily ever after, but does everyone know what it means? What is happiness? Is it that pleasurable sensation when I finally get a new phone, or is it the sensation when I finally get my paycheck? Maybe. But doesn’t the feeling fly by after some time? Doesn’t the joy of having a new car last only for but a moment? Don’t get me wrong; I’m not going to say that those things aren’t important at all to living a happy life. I would rather cry in a sports car than at the side of a street. Living a prosperous life is no doubt better than living a life under a mountain of debt. But, while these kinds of pleasure and fun are undoubtedly important to remove those that impede happiness, this does not necessarily create an everlasting feeling of contentment and happiness. It opens the possibility to a more enjoyable life, but that’s all it does; it opens the door, but it doesn’t make us cross into the other side. It does not make for a more happy life.

Thus, being the kid that I am, I search far and wide for the answer. I don’t want to be ultra happy at any one moment. Such episodes are usually followed by sessions of emptiness and sadness. It’s the same sensation I get after watching a really cool movie. After it ends, there is this hollow realization that it’s time to return to my ordinary life, and gosh, isn’t the world in the movie much more exciting and fun to live in than my real life. Besides, feeling ultra-happy won’t allow me to process and savour the feeling effectively. Instead, I only want a small dose of happiness in general, just enough to leave me smiling every day after getting out of bed in the morning until just before I fall asleep at night, spread out throughout my life. It is easier for the heart, and it’s nice to always have a home to go back to. Sure, it might not be that much fun, but it is better for my and your mental health in the long run. After all, everyone needs a home to relax.

But still, what is happiness? Well, my life has taught me that happiness is just joy shared with the people you love. Usually, the content of a happy life is not that different from any other life. There is no secret recipe for a happy life. Happy people just happen to have someone they share their joy with. It is not that they are empty people who have no personality of their own. Those people still have their own hobbies, dreams, and goals in life. They still go on hikes, visit new places, or read a good book every now and then. But they also have someone to share their moments with. It’s not that we have to hike with other people all the time; it is just having someone to share the stories with, share the pictures of your travels, or just having someone to always be there for you when you go home from your adventures that make it all the more meaningful. I once remember going to this scenic new place and thought to myself, “wouldn’t it be nice to share this moment with someone else?”. Doing it alone is fun, but having someone to share your life with makes life all the more enjoyable.

Last but not least, this “happiness is other people” also has the weird effect of making bad experiences more enjoyable. Struggling alone only leaves you and me miserable. But somehow, struggling together with someone you love can actually turn that experience into a somewhat-worth-remembering experience. Have you ever heard a story from your parents on how hard their lives were and how they had to borrow money from other people, or any other hardship stories like that? Well, if you and I go through such an experience alone, we will only remember the story as a “lesson-to-be-learned” story. But, if you do it with someone you love, the story itself can be a funny memory in itself.

So that is my short thesis on why “happiness is shared joy”. And I also think that it might be the reason why someone can still be happy despite only living a less than ideal life. It is because they do it for and with someone else; they have someone they love to share their joy and hard times with, and go through everything together.

“Sweet is the life that is full of good books and people to love.”




A wanna-be philosopher and Roman historian. These are my little essays I’ve written over the years.

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A wanna-be philosopher and Roman historian. These are my little essays I’ve written over the years.

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